I’m twenty years old and just got engaged two months ago. I’ve been dating my fiancé since I was 15. I love him very much and he is one of the best people I know.
Yet, he also drives me crazy a lot of the time. And, as much I hate it to say it, I don’t think he is very physically attractive. I do not always find him touching me to be very pleasant, as I am not always very aroused. Sometimes I wonder if there is something wrong with me.
But besides that, I feel like at twenty years old (and him twenty three) that we act old already. We stay at home a lot and watch television. He says that when we have money we can take trips, but there must be more of a life to be living even without money. I am usually a pretty conservative person, but I still dream of having an adventurous life and I don’t know if I’ll have that with him.
We broke up in the past for three months and I felt whole in myself, but then I decided to come back because I loved him. And I do. He is a protective, warm, lovable and loving, funny man. So why am I second guessing myself so much? If I ended it this time we wouldn’t even be friends after I think. On top of all that, I constantly am worrying about what career path to follow! Can you please help me?
Miss Worry Wart
Dear Miss Worry Wart,
I am so glad you took the time to write to me. It is very important that you put your situation into words, because doing so helps us see the hard truths that we sometimes don’t want to admit to ourselves.
I want to start by saying that it is a beautiful thing that you have had this person in your life. It is clear that he has been important to you. Nothing will change that. But it doesn’t mean that you have to spend the rest of your life with him.
It is certainly possible to have wonderful adventures with very little money. In fact, in my book I recommend that couples go on “no money dates” when they are getting to know each other to test their compatibility.
But I am less concerned about your different perspectives on how to spend your time than I am about you feeling uncomfortable in his arms. You are newly engaged, yet you have many doubts. These feelings are very significant, and you need to listen to your instincts and understand what they are telling you.
Twenty is very young. You are just starting to become your own person, to figure out who you are and what kind of life you want to have. I think it was smart of you to listen to your instincts and break up with him as you did and to take some time to reflect about your situation. I also understand why you decided to reunite. It can be such a comfort to be in a relationship and to know where you stand with someone.
But just because you got back together, that doesn’t mean you have to stay together forever. You have every right to change your mind. If that is what’s best for you, it is what’s best for both of you.
I’m not saying that you have to break up. You may do some more thinking, and talking, and negotiating, and decide that it makes sense for you to be together. I just want to encourage you to make the best choices, and not to settle for what you have known since you were 15. I encourage you to do some more writing, to talk with some trusted friends, to ask for some more time apart if needed. Allow yourself to make your best decision.
I have so much hope for you and for the very full life ahead of you. There is so much for you to experience with career, friends, relationships, family. It takes a lot of work and courage to live the kind of life we yearn for, but it is worth the effort.
Your book has been extremely inspirational. The one part that really stood out to me, was “if you have to question whether he or she is the right person, then he or she is not”.
I met my boyfriend about a year ago, while he was in an abusive relationship. I knew then he was the person I would be honored to be with for the rest of my life. When his relationship ended six months ago, we started dating almost immediately. I knew there would be bumps as he learned to heal and find his way. He told me that he knew he wanted to be with me, but asked to move slowly. So we dated and grew closer.
We finally hit that first huge bump. He appears to have some lingering anger and hurt. Has withdrawn over the past two weeks. But he is open to me about his strong feelings for me and belief that I am his future. He says he knows I am everything he could ever hope for in a woman plus some, but still asks for some space while he figures things out.
I am giving him his space, however I am questioning my feelings that he is the right person now–mostly out of insecurities.
How do I get back to that feeling that we are right for each other? Is it normal for him to want this much space away from me, even when he says I am a great future? I want to be strong for him and give him my support, but feel lost on the best way to do it while I let him heal.
Lost My Way
Dear Lost My Way,
You sound like a thoughtful and supportive partner. Your boyfriend is lucky to have had a person like you in his life, especially coming out of what sounds like a very difficult period.
With that said, it sounds like he feels a need to work through his issues independently, and this is why he asks for so much space.
I think it can be very important to put more weight on what a person is doing rather than what they are saying. It is clear that he cares for you and nice that he can articulate it. However, the important thing in your situation with him is that he keeps making it clear that he wants the space to sort things out on his own.
What might be helpful for you to consider is that this separation is about him and his needs rather than any kind of failure on your part. Still, I understand why you would feel insecure about it. You have made yourself available to work through this with him, and he is asking you to go away while he works it out on his own.
In my opinion, there is nothing else for you to do with or for him at this time.
What you can do at this time is be supportive of yourself. You get to decide what is next for you. It could be a perfectly good decision to give him the space and wait for him to be ready. You can also choose to put yourself out there and meet other people. Truthfully, I worry about you waiting around for him, because you never know how long it might take him to be ready–if he ever becomes ready to work things out.
My advice is for you to detach from him. Respect your feelings, write and talk them out, do whatever you need to do to move forward. You deserve to be in a relationship where both people are ready to give, and I encourage you to keep that in your mind as you make your next decisions.